Friday, Oct. 11, 2002
Paul Schwartz (510) 987-9924

UC Presents CUE with Firm Wage Offer Aimed at Concluding Negotiations; Requires Union to Respond by End of Month

During contract negotiations on Thursday, Oct. 10, the University of California presented the Coalition of University Employees (CUE) with a revised wage offer aimed at facilitating contract settlement.

The offer would provide clerical employees with raises identical to those for other staff employees: 2 percent wage increases for 2001-02 (including the 1 percent increase previously agreed to) and 1.5 percent increases for 2002-03.

This proposal differs from prior offers in that it includes a deadline of Oct. 31; prior wage offers did not include a deadline.

"We've been negotiating with CUE for a year and a half and it's time to bring these talks to a close," said Gayle Cieszkiewicz, executive director of UC labor relations. "UC continues to make clear to CUE that it simply will not and cannot offer wage increases beyond levels provided by state funding. Meanwhile, CUE continues to demand 15 percent increases over two years, and that just isn't financially realistic.

"We are making a firm wage offer and we've given CUE a reasonable, but definite amount of time to respond to know exactly where the union stands and what next steps we need to take. This is standard bargaining protocol, and it demonstrates the university's efforts and commitment to moving negotiations toward closure."

Cieszkiewicz added that the pending increases in health care costs for employees only heighten the importance of settling the contract quickly.

"We are working very hard to try to make sure clerical employees receive their raises in time to help cover increased medical benefits costs, which take effect Jan. 1, 2003," she said.

UC saw its medical plan premiums for next year jump 16 to 22 percent. Still, UC will continue to pay for most of employees' 2003 health care premiums and continue to provide employees with a range of health plan choices.

Additional information on these negotiations is available at www.ucop.edu/humres/labor/

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